RHCSA 7/RHCE 7 certification books
- Asghar Ghori‘s RHCSA & RHCE Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (04/2015) covers the RHCSA objectives quite well. Each time, he introduces the subject and covers most of the configuration details with lots of explanations. Except the lack of OpenLDAP/IPA server configuration, making difficult any client side testing, the RHCSA part is well written and pretty exhaustive.
However, the RHCE part didn’t receive the same attention. Because the topics are pretty new, the quality is lower. If the introduction is still good, some chapters lack real technical material besides a basic tutorial. The IPv6, Kerberos and MariaDB coverages are minimal. The iScsi chapter needs a rewriting. Also, there is no Kerberos KDC/IPA server side configuration. If the RHCSA exam doesn’t require expert level, the RHCE exam does, which is not possible without troubleshooting experience.
If you are searching for a good book preparing for the RHCSA exam, go for it. But, if you are mainly interested in a RHCE book, there are arguably better options.
- Sander van Vugt‘s Red Hat RHCE/RHCSA 7 Cert Guide (09/2015) is the first book arguably offering advanced RHCE 7 material. Disclaimer: As I was one of the voluntary proofreaders of this book and spent more than one hundred hours on it, I’m obviously a little biased. Despite the proofreading job done, the first edition of this book displayed a lot of typos. A second edition is now available (03/2016).
- Michael Jang & Alessandro Orsaria‘s RHCSA/RHCE Red Hat Linux Certification Study Guide 7th edition (03/2016) finally released their book.
The RHCSA part of the book explains pretty well all the basics with very few typos. However, the coverage of the LDAP client configuration is very light with no LDAP server building instructions. Also, a major command to deal with disks, lsblk, is even not mentioned.
The RHCE part of the book provides a good coverage of the different objectives. Postfix, Samba, iScsi, Apache and MariaDB topics are all discussed in details with a special attention for NFS and Kerberos.
Globally, the book is a real success and should satisfy most of the readers.
Because perfection doesn’t exist, there is still a minor drawback: only the RHEL 7.0 version is presented; all changes appearing in minor versions after it (nmcli syntax, NFS configuration, etc) are not discussed. That’s fine, because until now the RHCSA & RHCE exams currently use the RHEL 7.0 version. When that changes, ask for a book update (a second edition should come by the end of June 2017).
Other books on RHEL 7
- Andrew Mallett‘s Learning RHEL Networking could almost belong to the RHCSA & RHCE 7 guides if some topics of the curriculum were not missing like the procedure to change the password at boot or some networking subjects like bonding, teaming or routing, something incredible for a book with this name. However, don’t get me wrong, Andrew Mallett, also known as The Urban Penguin, is a very knowledgeable author: this means that you always learn something from one of his books. Here, the book is geared towards beginners and Windows administrators. For beginners, it offers a large panel of subjects (sudo, NetworkManager, DNS, DHCP, NTP, iSCSI, LVM, NFS+autofs, Apache, Postfix, SELinux, Firewalld, Samba, Kerberos client) with BtrFS configuration as a bonus. For Windows administrators, it provides a deep dive into Windows Active Directory integration. If one of the previously mentioned topics interests you,the book will bring you clear and progressive explanations.
- Jonathan Hobson‘s Troubleshooting CentOS is a very interesting book but it can’t compete in the RHCSA 7/RHCE 7 book category: this book teaches you how to troubleshoot services but not how to configure them.
Unfortunately, there are some important oversights: no mention of nmap; nothing about yum history undo last; Journald, one of the features brought by Systemd to improve system monitoring from early boot to final shutdown, doesn’t receive any attention!
Also, choices made in the book are sometimes difficult to understand: good coverage of Xfs troubleshooting but nothing about Ext4! Good explanation about moving a user from one group to another but nothing about the ability for a user to get an additional group!
However, besides these little imperfections, this book is full of useful tips that every system administrator should know to get his job done and explores rarely discussed topics (rpmdb recovery, MariaDB password recovery, Tripwire installation, Auditd, etc) successfully.
- Thibault Bartolone‘s Red Hat Enterprise Linux – CentOS (in French) is an excellent introduction to the Red Hat world. The first edition of the book covered RHEL 6. The second edition has recently been updated with good RHEL 7 material.
If you are new to RHEL or CentOS, this book will help you understand many topics and will provide you the right fundamentals.
- William Leemans‘ Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server Cookbook is an interesting book geared towards seasoned system administrators searching for production deployment solutions in the RHEL 7 environment. The author provides relevant recipes coming from his real expertise in KVM, Kickstart, Ansible and Puppet. He also explores the performance management domain with a chapter on PCP (Performance Co-Pilot). Many other recipes covering production subjects are also addressed like the deployment with PXE, the network configuration of servers, SELinux, or the management of Yum repositories. However, the chapters about Systemd or Firewalld are less convincing. If deployment of RHEL 7 production servers is the core of your job, this book will definitively help you.
- Humble Devassy Chirammal, Prasad Mukhedkar, Anil Vettathu’s Mastering KVM Virtualization is the first book in English really discussing KVM in detail. Before, you could find some information on Internet (libvirt.org, wiki.qemu.org, etc), through one chapter or several pages of a book but it was always pretty limited. Here, the authors, all working for Red Hat, explore the theory behind the virtualization and present some KVM internals. Then, they address many facets like network, storage, live migration and snapshot, giving many examples on each topic. They delve into OpenvSwitch, showing the advantages over the basic Linux bridge. Finally, they introduce oVirt, discuss OpenStack deployment, performance tuning and best practices.
If you really want to get a good understanding of KVM, you need this book.
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